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1944 Flying Control Dodge WC51 - The Story So Far


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March 21st - Putting Faith to Bed With the coronavirus lock down only likely to become more severe and the 2020 MV events falling like dominos, we popped over to say good night to "Faith" for som

Here's some views in the military vehicle Romney hut. First, a panorama from my phone. Two model cabinets celebrate the 100th anniversary of the RAF with models of many of the types flo

Another year  and once again it is Happy birthday to "Faith" the Flying Control Dodge. This time, it's a big one!! 75 years old today!!! First time out, shortly after purchase in September

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Here's a few more shots from around the museum.

 

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The Dodge was taken back to the storage container after returning from the museum, after a couple of weeks stay on the drive for the brake work. I'll be back here in September for their "Jeeps & Jets" event.

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It's been a quiet season for the Dodge, partly due to Lynne's health problems that has resulted in my going out on my own in a Jeep, where otherwise we may have all gone in the Dodge. However today, "Faith" got a run out to finish the season.

 

National Railway Museum Shildon Classic Car Rally - Oct 1st

 

Probably the last event of the season for me at 'Locomotion' the National Railway Museum at Shildon. It was my 16th event of 2017, and due to the damp forecast, I decided against taking the GPW a couple of days before the event, in favour of the Dodge. The Dodge hadn't been out much in 2017, so it was a chance to give it a decent run out, around a 60 mile round trip.

 

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Early in the day, the concrete apron was quite empty, but as public opening time got closer, it soon filled up.

 

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It was a very foggy trip down, but it slowly brightened up to give us some sun later in the day, and not too cold either. Some interesting visiting vehicles on display in addition to the rotating railway exhibits which frequently swap with those at York. My daughter and I also took the mile round trip walk to the other end of the line, to see some of the original buildings and the Timothy Hackworth cottage.

 

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From 3pm onwards, the cars began to depart, leaving our Dodge the last vehicle there. By the time we packed away the aerials and windsock, it was 4pm, and we headed home soon after, both quite tired, having clocked up a number of miles walking around the site on a railway themed treasure hunt I'd made up to entertain my daughter across the day.

 

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It did start out quite horrible, with only a few hundred yards visibility. Most of my outdoor pictures were taken early in the day, but it did brighten up and we did see some sun later in the day, and not too windy! However, it is England, and the start of October, so I wasn't expecting +25°C!

 

This morning, the wind is wild, with gusts of 50mph expected.

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November 18th - Winter Check Out Visit

It had been a few weeks since the trip to Shildon for the classic car rally, so I decided to go and give the Dodge a check over. We took the GPW over for a very chilly drive to the storage unit. After a prime, it took quite a few goes to get the Dodge to fire. It was a particularly cold day, and it took all the effort of the 6 volt battery to turn the engine over and provide enough energy for the spark!

Once the truck was running, it was left at a high idle to charge the battery. The clutch and brakes were exercised, oil and water were checked before starting. The lights were all tested and after about 15 minutes running, with the truck at normal temperatures, it was moved forwards a few feet to avoid flat spots on the tyres.

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December 31st - Winter Check Out Visit

This was the last visit of the year to the Dodge, and it was just squeezed in to the last few hours of 2017.

It had been a little over six weeks since my last visit due to a number of factors interfering with normal life. I turned up, opened the container checked the radiator and notice the level had dropped a bit. I topped it up with some water from the emergency bottles in the back locker and and gave the Dodge a run. It started at the second go. There were no signs of any leaks after the top up, and the Dodge was moved backwards in the container a few feet.

With the recent cold spells, and having just added plain water for the engine run, I decided the anti-freeze ratio in the Dodge should be increased, just in case. Everything was locked up again, and I made the three mile trip home, got some gear together and headed back. The radiator was partially drained into a bucket, and the drained liquid still smelled of anti-freeze ( I couldn't remember where my tester was ). About a litre of Prestone anti-freeze was added back into the radiator and the engine run again to circulate the coolant. Everything was locked up once again until 2018.

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It's been all quiet on the Dodge front for a while now while most of my attention has been focused on one of my Jeeps, doing some bodywork repairs and overhauling the starting and ignition system. However with the season getting closer, I popped over to check on the Dodge today. There wasn't much fuel in the Dodge, so I wasn't planning on running it. I'll take a jerrycan over next trip.

After a delay getting into the yard, following a change of padlock, I opened up the container and removed the Dodge battery to bring home. I wanted to add some acid tablets to the cells and give it a good charge before it is next out. I may try and bring it out after the Easter weekend if the weather dries up. So far, Spring in the North East has been somewhat damp.

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I took the battery back to the dodge today. After fitting it, starting up and backing out of the container, I tipped about four gallons of fresh petrol into the tank and went for a short local drive. This was the first trip out this year and the first drive since the event at 'Locomotion' in October last year. I've got a couple of Jeep events in early May and then will probably take the Dodge to Blyth Battery Goes to War on May 19/20th.

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Blyth Battery Goes to War - May 19/20th

Day one of the Blyth Battery event was sunny, but there was a bit of a breeze off the sea which pulled the temperature down. Further inland it was quite hot, but on the coast, I had my HBT overalls on.

The displays followed the usual format with the German camp to the South of the battery and Allies to the North. Because of an ignition problem with my M201 Jeep at the start of May, I took the M201 up to Blyth for the first day as a further test that wasn't too far away from home. I planned to take the Dodge on day two.

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I wasn't the only RAF content, and only a few yards from where I was parked was an RAF truck and Rolls Royce Meteor engine, the tank version of the RR Merlin aircraft engine. The engine was run several times a day during the show.

 

Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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Below are a couple of pictures from the battery which was celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2018. The construction of the battery began in 1916 and was completed in February 1918 to guard the port and submarine base. The battery was then upgraded for WW2 use. The square building is the WW2 ranging building.

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Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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The weather forecast for day two was for hotter than the previous day. However, after an uneventful 20 mile drive to Blyth in the Dodge, the forecast 8mph Southerly wind was a bit stronger and off the sea, pulling the temperature down again. Wifey and daughter came along too, hoping for a nice afternoon on the beach, but the cool breeze soon changed their minds! I parked up in the same spot as the day before and set up the truck equipment.

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Most of the displays were the same on day two, although there were a few changes in displays and positions of some vehicles. 

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Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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I caught the battle on day two and looking out to sea at the hazy horizon, I could easily imagine a huge fleet appearing, as on the morning of June 6th at Normandy. There's beach as far as you can see North and South along the Blyth coast, and picturing thousands of troops storming ashore gave an impression of the task the German defenders would have faced at the D-Day beaches. For the Blyth battle, the Allies stormed the beach under mortar fire, had to scale the sea wall, before then attacking the German positions in the dunes.

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Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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Despite it not being as warm as we hoped, it was a good day and nice to be out in the Dodge again. As we moved further inland, it got hotter and we then realised what a nice day it had been out of the wind. After a quick unload of personal possessions, the truck was taken back to the storage yard after a successful first run out of the year.

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Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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Barnard Castle 1940's Weekend - June 23/24th

 It was a 40 mile drive to Barnard Castle on Friday late afternoon, and one of those rare occasions that it was hot in the cab, rather than the usual flying jacket weather! We passed through the town on the way to our camp site which was about three miles further on. It was a lovely sunny evening and a good sign for the weekend weather.

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The daylight woke little legs at 4am and she woke us asking if it was time to get up yet? and again at 4:05am and again at 4:15am!! The birds and daylight stopped me from sleeping properly after that so I then just dozed until a more sensible time. We set off back to town about 9am in order to be set up before the required time of 9:30am.

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Most of the vehicles were located at the top of the town, next to the castle, but a couple of vehicles were located on the high street to draw the attention of passing public and make them aware of the castle display.

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Around 12:40pm on Saturday, the BBMF Spitfire Mk.Vb made its flypasts directly overhead. We knew it was coming, but didn't know a time, so the first pass escaped me. I didn't take my telephoto lens, so the pictures I caught were just with the 18~55mm lens.

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Sunday was even hotter than the day before and being in a well sheltered location, there was no breeze worth mentioning to cool things down. There were a reasonable number of people around at the start of the day, but the numbers dropped off in the afternoon due to some sports thing in Russia.

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Barnard Castle.

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Further event pictures can be found here - http://www.sacarr.co.uk/mymvs/events/2018/barnard.htm

After the show, we went back to the camp site to pack the tent, followed by the 90 minute drive home. The Dodge is to be kept at home for the Bowes/Springwell event next weekend.

Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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On Monday 25th, while I was packing away the camping equipment from the Barnard Castle trip, I removed the RAF roundels from the Jeep trailer to see if they fitted the Dodge. I knew the side roundels should be ok, but I wondered if the large one from the back of the trailer would fit on the Dodge's front bumper. Fortunately it did - just! Now all three of my vehicles will be in RAF markings for the Bowes event this weekend.

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I live in Washington, Tyne & Wear. Unless you can arrange transport for my vehicles, it's too far ( and expensive ) to drive the Dodge. I can trailer my "Follow Me" Jeep long distances, but don't drive the Dodge more than about a 100 mile radius.

Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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